This week the lead ranking Republican and Democrat of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee were on the Alaskan coast listening about Alaskan solutions. Ranking Democrat Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) who was present in Cordova noted that Alaska is the ‘tip of the spear’ in terms of energy systems that will be employed in the future. The current CEO of the local utility (Clay Koplin) spoke to smart grids that are linked up with real-time demand. The utility has done great work to create more power generation with remote hydro, yet at the hearing he spoke to conservation efficiencies down to the level of an appliance. Similar efforts have been made the last few years on the west coast of Alaska where wind turbines are co-generating power with diesel engines, and having a real time load usage from communication dwelling by dwelling can help both coordinate with each other when producing power.
With current concerns on cyber attacks, micro-grids are still of interest and by necessity of the remoteness of many of Alaska’s communities, utilities have worked out many of the glitches when trying to power with constant loads and backup areas with several dozen buildings needing reliable power. The military has been wanting to know about more of the efficient ways to run these small systems, yet now consumers in various parts of the country area also interested on having independent power at a small scale for security and consistency. In this regard, Alaska can lead other states by example.